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Mortgage companies step up enforcement efforts

According to a foreclosure listing firm, the number of U.S. homes entering first-time foreclosure proceedings in Tennessee and nationwide increased on an annual basis for the second month in a row. Lenders initiated foreclosure proceedings on 12% of loans behind in payment in June.

Time may be one explanation for the increase: now that the nation's biggest mortgage lenders have reached a $25 billion settlement with government officials, they can turn their attention back to any backlog of unpaid mortgages. In fact, some of the properties entering the foreclosure process may have been missing payments for a year or more.

Even if the increase is due to delayed administrative processing, rather than signaling a new group of homeowners in distress, many homeowners do not welcome the news. Some fear that home values may be lowered if an inventory of foreclosed properties is put on the market. Others who have fallen behind in their mortgage payments fear the stepped-up enforcement efforts.

If you are a homeowner who has received a notice of foreclosure, don't delay in contacting an attorney. Short sales take an average of 319 days after entering foreclosure to complete the process. Thus, until your house is sold at an auction, you may have an opportunity to file for bankruptcy and halt the foreclosure proceedings. By doing so, the automatic stay issued by a bankruptcy judge will typically prevent creditors from taking further collection actions.

An attorney can also advise on you on various debt relief solutions offered by Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filings that may save your home from foreclosure.

Source:, "More US homes facing foreclosure risk in June," Alex Veiga, July 12, 2012

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